Published August 15th, 2023 at 7:05 AM3 minute read
A $650 million, mixed-use development being hailed as the final step in a generational effort to redevelop the downtown riverfront received unanimous backing from the Port KC development committee Monday.
The project being proposed by the co-owners of the KC Current women’s professional soccer club is expected to include more than 1,000 apartments in several towers, 210,000 square feet of office space and 53,000 square feet of retail.
The multi-phase project would be located on several properties totaling 7.5 acres owned by Port KC near the $117 million KC Current stadium now under construction. The plan includes 1,070 parking spaces.
“This is a fundamentally two-phase concept for a significant European-style, walkable, dense community that will meet or exceed the planning vision for the riverfront,” said Jon Stephens, Port KC president and CEO.
“It will complete the primary core of the riverfront as it was envisioned 30 plus years ago.”
The development team is comprised of an entity owned by Chris and Angie Long, co-owners of KC Current.
The riverfront redevelopment plan, which was unveiled last month, would be built in phases over 10 years and completed in 2034. It’s expected to break ground next year.
“This will be completed within one decade, lightning fast for development,” Stephens said.
While renderings have not been prepared, the development schedule presented to Port KC indicated the first phase would include a nine-story apartment project with later phases calling for 11-, 14- and 16-story apartment buildings.
A five-story office project also is part of the plan.
The developers are requesting a 15-year property tax abatement for the commercial space, 70% for 10 years and 30% for five years; and a 15-year abatement for the residential component, 95% for 10 years and 90% for five years.
A sales tax exemption on construction materials also is being sought. Because the land is publicly owned and doesn’t generate taxes currently, the development is still expected to yield $30 million for local taxing jurisdictions over 25 years.
The riverfront development plan also calls for 10% of the apartments, about 104 units, to be reserved as affordable for households earning 50% of Area Median Income.
The developer also is expected to contribute $35 million in infrastructure work including streets and utilities.
The Port KC development committee responded enthusiastically to the development plan, which is expected to be considered by the full board later this month.
“This will be completely transformative. It will be crazy to see this in 10 years compared to how the riverfront has sat,” said Commissioner Claire Terrebonne.
In recent years, the 11,500-seat KC Current stadium, apartment projects totaling more than 1,000 units, a 120-room hotel, the Bar K dog park and bar, and a beer garden in Berkley Riverfront Park have been completed or are under construction.
There also is a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge planned for parallel to the Grand Boulevard viaduct leading to the riverfront.
In other matters, the Port KC development committee recommended incentives for the $90 million Waldo74Broadway apartment project. EPC Real Estate Group is cooperating with the Lewellen family, the owner of The Well at 7421 Broadway, on the project.
The 278-unit development would be built on land currently occupied by The Well and the restaurant and bar would occupy the ground floor of the new building. The project would reserve 20% of its units for households earning 60% of area median income.
The developer is seeking a 20-year property tax abatement starting at 90% the first year. It would then drop to 85% for years two through five; 75% years six through 10; 55% years 11 through 15, and 25% years 16 through 20.
The project originally sought incentives from the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. It had been recommended for approval by the agency’s development arm, Ride KC, but that request was not approved by the full KCATA board.
Work on the project is expected to begin by late this year or early 2024 with completion anticipated in Fall 2026.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Palmer Square Capital Management and VanTrust were involved in the riverfront development next to the new KC Current stadium. The master developer is an affiliate of the KC Current and Chris and Angie Long.
Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is the founder of CityScene KC, an online source for downtown news and issues.